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Sangakkara leads Sri Lanka's charge
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter


Ground:Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo
Scorecard:Sri Lanka v Pakistan
Player:KC Sangakkara, Danish Kaneria, NT Paranavitana, Umar Gul, HMRKB Herath
Event:Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2009

DateLine: 23rd July 2009

 

The first half of the day belonged to the Pakistani side while the second half was claimed by the Lankan team as both the teams fought tooth and nail in the end leaving the Test evenly poised. Pakistani batsmen cashed in on a tiring bowling attack and a featherbed of a pitch to assert their dominance over the Lankan team as they set a target of 492 to win in almost five sessions. Sri Lanka in reply made 183 for the loss of three wickets and with the last day play remaining the Test is interestingly poised

 

In the morning session Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik showed their intention by sending Thushara twice to the boundary ropes and it looked that the pair would simply take off from where they had left yesterday. But Kulasekara gave Sri Lanka the breakthrough, when he got Akmal edging to Jayawardene to the lone slip, who took a fine catch to his right. Sri Lanka could have had Malikís wicket when his wild slash resulted in an edge, but Sangakkara messed it up. Gul and Malik then proceeded to punish the Lankans under the blazing sun as they ran amok.

 

The pair added 52 runs and in between Gul was offered two lives. Paranavitana put down a catch at slip after Gul had ducked a bouncer with his bat held high, and then Sangakkara missed a stumping with Gul way down the track. Malik was given a nasty blow to the side of the eye by Thushara sneaked through the helmet grille off the top edge. He finally departed when he mistimed a lofted shot to long on where the substitute fielder took the catch. Gul cashed in on a docile batting track as he merrily deposited Herath beyond the boundary ropes. Herath then had Gul caught by Vaas who took a smart running catch and then had Kaneria heaving to Thushara at mid-on to claim his fifth wicket of the innings. The Pakistani innings extended just over three overs after lunch during which Aamer freed his arms a couple of times once to get a boundary and another to get a maximum. Younis Khan called his batsmen back leaving Sri Lanka a target pf 492 to win or 150 overs to survive.

 

Gul once again failed to deliver as he rarely looked threatening while Aamer bowled with pace and bounce with little reward. Warnapura and Paranavitana negotiated the questions raised by the opening bowlers and Younis Khan realising that his pacers were impotent employed his spinners on a track that refused to assist the bowlers. There were a couple of close shouts but barring that the openers were fairly comfortable with the proceedings as they went for tea. Post-tea, the openers Warnapura and Paranavitana continued with their dogged defence as the Pakistani bowlers began to show signs of restlessness.

 

Just when it seemed that the bowers were losing the plot, Kaneria slipped one on the legs of Warnapura which he tried to flick, but unfortunately the ball clipped his pads on its way to Malik at leg slip. The deflection was so convincing that the umpire had to raise his finger to give the batsman out. That wicket seemed to lift Kaneria and he began to bring out his variations thus troubling Sangakkara and Paranavitana without any let-up. Ajmal meanwhile instead of trying too much concentrated on keeping a check in the flow of runs as both the spinners now choked the batsmen. Paranavitana brought out a slog sweep against Kaneria to try and unsettle him, but the feisty bowler did not back down an inch.

 

Sangakkara took his time as he countered the spinners by using his feet to get to the pitch of the ball whenever they pitched it up, but more often than not was contend to stay on the back foot. Paranavitana crossed his fifty and was looking really rock solid when Malik got him to flick a ball which was smartly held up an alert Alam at short leg. Kaneria was given a breather as Aamer was brought back into the attack. In the second spell, the left arm pacer began to generate pace in the late 130ís and at one point touched 140 kph. But the line was always on the middle and leg stump thus not troubling the batsmen. Kaneria was brought back and he immediately got rid of Jayawardene with a beautiful piece of leg spin delivery and the pressure was straight back on the Lankan batting line-up. Sangakkara meanwhile completed a well-paced half century and at the end of the day he had Samaraweera for company as the day closed.


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